John Cranch

Monks Merrymaking


Not on display

John Cranch 1751–1821
Oil paint on wood
Support: 162 × 210 mm
frame: 300 × 350 × 70 mm
Purchased 1968

Display caption

This is one of two small pictures
by John Cranch showing monks
at work and at play. The companion
picture (now in a private collection)
shows the monks looking very bored, seated around a table strewn with
books, a skull, and an hour glass.
Here they are in a more festive mood.


Since the middle ages monks had
a reputation for indulgence. In Protestant England they were an especially common target for satire, representing everything that was deemed to be corrupt within
the Catholic church.


Gallery label, May 2002

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Catalogue entry

John Cranch 1751–1821

T01048 Monks Merrymaking circa 1804

Inscribed ‘J.C’ on basket, b.c.
Oil on panel, 6¿ x 8¼ (16.2 x 21).
Purchased at Christie’s (Grant-in-Aid) 1968.
Coll: sold Robert Curr & Dewar, Dundee, 24 February 1960 (846, with companion), bt. David Fraser, sold Christie’s, 30 October 1964 (91, with companion), bt. Porter; ...; sold Christie’s, 22 March 1968 (36), bt. Butlin for Tate Gallery.

The companion picture mentioned above was An Abbot and Monks round a table with books, dated 1804.

Published in The Tate Gallery Report 1967–1968, London 1968.

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